After taking an year-long hiatus amidst the concerns created by the Coronavirus pandemic, the NBA’s Basketball Africa League (BAL) will make it’s official debut on May 16 in Kigali, Rwanda, per ESPN’s Marc J. Spears.
An expansion of the league’s popular Basketball Without Borders program, the BAL is the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
“We are thrilled that the inaugural Basketball Africa League season will take place at the world-class Kigali Arena,” said BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall. “Through the BAL, we will provide a platform for elite players from across the continent to showcase their talent and inspire fans of all ages, use basketball as an economic growth engine across Africa, and shine a light on Africa’s vibrant sporting culture.”
Featuring a FIBA-like format, the BAL begins with an 18-game group phase (with the 12 teams divided into three groups of four). During the group phase, each team will face the three other teams in its group once.
The top eight teams from the group phase will qualify for a single-elimination three-round playoff, with the first BAL Finals set to be held on May 30.
The 12 teams that will compose the BAL are: Algeria’s GSP (Groupement Sportif des Pétroliers); Angola’s Petro de Luanda (Clube Atlético Petroleos de Luanda); Cameroon’s FAP (Forces Armées et Police Basketball); Egypt’s Zamalek; Madagascar’s GNBC (Gendarmerie Nationale Basketball Club); Mali’s AS Police (Association Sportive de la Police Nationale); Morocco’s AS Salé (Association Sportive de Salé); Mozambique’s Ferroviàrio de Maputo; Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers BC; Rwanda’s Patriots BC; Senegal’s AS Douanes (Association Sportive des Douanes); and Tunisia’s US Monastir (Union Sportive Monastirienne).
All 26 games in the BAL schedule will take place at Kigali Arena in Rwanda.